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Robyn's Pond Newsletter May 2005

Last Updated: 2/6/14

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Introduction and Miscellaneous:
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If you have something pond-related that you want to share (information, jokes, web sites, pond secrets and tidbits, something pond-related for sale), let me know, and I will add it to the next newsletter. What topics would you like me to cover? Do you have a question that I can answer or pose to others in the next newsletter?

Here is a photo I took using a new digital camera (and its zoom) on 4/13/05 of three red fox kits at their den on a hay field next to us:
http://www.fishpondinfo.com/photos/mammals/other/ fox1.jpg

And here is a photo of the pair of mallard ducks I mentioned in the last newsletter on our pool cover on 3/27/05:
http://www.fishpondinfo.com/photos/birds/ducks/ducks.jpg

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Significantly Altered or New Pond Web Pages (explanations below, numbers match):
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1. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/clean2.htm

2. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/amphphotos.htm (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)

3. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/otherpondphotos.htm (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)

4. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/bigpondphotos1.htm

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Additions or Changes to Robyn's Pond Web Pages:
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1. The photos I took on 3/25/05 of the 153 gallon pond cleaning are up. They include photos of the pond before I did anything, when it was half empty, when it was empty, and when it was set back up. There is also a photo of the wood frog eggs and a male wood frog. None of the photos of the male Southern redbelly dace turned out but I have good photos of him from the two previous years.

2. Under frogs for 2005 is a photo of the wood frog eggs in the 153 gallon pond the day before they hatched.

3. Under other ponds is a photo of the mosaic pond and the new tricker pond. Both are empty of plants and animals.

4. Under Spring 2005 is a photo of the 1800 gallon pond on 4/5/05. I made it a larger photo than I normally do so you feel more like you are there.

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Happenings at Robyn's Ponds:
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1. On 4/3/05, I didn't need to get into my 1800 gallon pond but did other chores around the ponds. Both the 1800 and 153 gallon ponds were at 47 degrees F. I put more gravel in the two pots in the 20 gallon tub pond that the raccoons messed up. I squirted off the PondMaster filters which I normally do on Saturday (I didn't since it was pouring). I put my 20 gallon mosaic pond on the front porch. It contains no fish or plants, and I don't expect to add any (never really worked before as it's made for ornamental reasons.). A bucket of water and my new Tricker pond was full thanks to all the rain. It is empty of life for now. I replaced the mesh bag of Ammo-Carb with a new box. I know it really doesn't do anything in a pond that big especially when I only change it a few times a year but hey, it makes me feel better! The winds both on 4/3/05 and 4/4/05 were horrible, a constant 20+ mph with gusts of near 50 mph! It was nasty working out there but that was the time I had off to do it!

2. On 4/4/05, I redid the 50 gallon lotus tub pond after two years (last done 3/23/03 at which time there were live tubers, and all the animals had died from the winter.). I used the shop vacuum to suck up the black water. As I poured a little off at a time, I hand collected green frog tadpoles and put them in to my 153 gallon pond. I put three in my 20 gallon tub pond as well. I probably removed a few hundred as well as half a dozen pond snails (the bigger kind, Melantho I think)! In past years, the tadpoles died over the winter when the tub pond freezes solid but it must not have this year despite the cold for some reason. After getting the liquid out, tadpoles were left squirming in 3 inches of black slop. I added more water and vacuumed again to save as many as I could. After a long time, I had to eventually decide to sacrifice some to clean the pond out. I shoveled out about 30 gallons of mud, slop, and pea gravel. There was no sign of any real lotus tubers left, just a good amount of weedy water celery. It took 6 loads of dirt and slop in the wheel barrow (not full but I could barely lift them) to dump it all out. I squirted the sides off and got the tub pond completely clean. I debated whether to leave it that way or fill it with just gravel but decided the lotus needed the dirt. I was so weak after that that I didn't think I could dig up more dirt but managed to dig up a full load which I dumped in the cleaned out tub pond. On top of that, I added almost 3 full 50 pound bags of pea gravel. In the past, I would rinse it 10 pounds at a time in a bucket but that takes a long time and tears up my hands so I put 50 pounds into the wheelbarrow and filled it up with water, mixed (using the nozzle on the hose), dumped the sandy water, and repeated. This worked well enough so that when the pond was filled, it was very clear. Because I put in a lot less dirt, the water is much deeper. I ordered a new lotus, and the pond (and deer who want to eat it) awaits.

I started putting little bits of food into the 153 and 20 gallon ponds for the tadpoles (the rosy reds went for it too). It's supposed to get warm this week so I will begin limited feeding of the fish. That reminds me; I need to buy some Cheerios for the big fish. The great task of mulching all the gardens and individually caged plants has begun and will last until next fall. I worked outside for 6 hours that Monday off with a winter hat on despite temperatures near 60 degrees F because the winds were worthy of all bad adjectives. Anything less than 10 pounds blew away.

3. On 4/6/05, the wood frog eggs began to hatch.

4. On 4/9/05, the goldfish began to spawn. All sizes of goldfish spazed around, if not to actually spawn, then to eat the eggs. The orfe also seemed to be spawning but I still have never found any babies over the years. On 4/10/05, when I changed the filter material around the pump, the falls had slowed almost to a drip! The water was murky. So, it was a good thing that I could clean it then. The goldfish stir up all the debris that I can't reach, and it clogs the filter and intake as well as makes the pond quite messy. I also installed the Cyprio planter filter for the warm season. By the next day, the pond was nice and clear again. I'll have to "squirt the flosses" as I call it weekly now. I've also started putting out mosquito dunks or liquid Bt depending on the pond as they are starting to breed again. I put new barley straw in my 1800 and 153 gallon ponds. Both ponds were at 56 degrees F. Almost every morning, the 2 gallon pot of iris in the 20 gallon tub pond has been knocked off the brick onto its side on the bottom of the pond by the raccoons. I'm getting tired of it and don't know what to do. The water is all muddy. Any ideas besides a net which wouldn't work (would squish the iris)? I bought a nice fountain pump and filter for my 50 gallon lotus tub pond since I redid it, and wouldn't you know, the cord's too short. What's with all these 5 feet cords anyway? I need a 10 foot cord but they don't make tiny pumps with cords that long. Do you know of one?

5. By 4/12/05, most of the wood frog tadpoles in my 153 gallon pond seem to have vanished! The week before, a thousand swam all over after they'd hatched. Now, I'm lucky to find one or two. I still see the ones in the 20 gallon tub pond that I put in there (even though the water is brown from dirt, they come up to the edge). So, what happened to all the tadpoles? I doubt my 63 rosy red minnows, most in the inch or two range could have eaten more than one or two a piece (they don't eat the baby green frog tadpoles). The larger green frog tadpoles could have eaten one or two a piece but this isn't all that likely either. So, even if every animal in my pond ate a wood frog tadpole, the pond still should have been full of them! I have a few frogs, did they eat them? Doubtful. Did they die of some water quality or illness problem; not likely, everyone else is fine? Did the raccoon eat them? Why would he when there are so many larger green frog tadpoles, snails, etc. to eat. Did they eat each other? Possibly but none of this explains the thousand missing tadpoles. I'm just kicking myself that I didn't put some of the eggs in other ponds to spread them out.

6. On 4/17/05, I replaced the filter material around my OASE Nautilus pump which runs my 1800 gallon pond. It was pretty heavy! The 1800 gallon pond was at 57 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 58 degrees F. As a routine now, I also top off the ponds, add a few additives (koi clay, baking soda, BZT, salt, etc. in small amounts) to the big pond, and squirt off the floss around the Cyprio filter's pump and the PondMaster filters as well every week. All my plants need repotting!

7. On 4/20/05, I repotted three of my water lilies in my big pond. The yellow Chromatella, changeable Comanche, and white Albata were all in five gallon pots that were so heavy that I cannot lift them on land (I have to drag them, even after repotting when they're much lighter). I got the first two out by heaving with all my might to lift them a foot out of the water up over the rock ledge. With no one to help me, that last pot I didn't think I could get since it was warped including the handles. I hurt my legs, arms, and almost ripped my nails out but with a little screaming, managed to do the seemingly impossible. I hacked the lilies apart into half a dozen pieces (using just one to repot) and got the repotting done in a little over two hours, for just three plants! I repotted the pink Fabiola lily last year so that's the only one I have to do next year (not including some tiny ones). It's in two pots but only one is the large 5 gallon. I hope it's not too much to ask to get some flowers this year. Despite repeated repottings, I'm lucky to get two lily flowers a week. I also removed the net over the marginals so that they could grow vertically. There's still a net over the deep end. The goldfish are spawning like mad so I hope the heron doesn't come back because he'd have easy pickings.

8. On 4/24/05, I squirted off the flosses, PondMaster filters, and Cyprio biothings. Both ponds were at 54 degrees F. I topped off the ponds and tidied up. I netted a lot of pond slop from the marginal area which I put into two plastic litter buckets. I filled them to the top with pond water and will keep an eye out for goldfish fry. As I find some (I did see some eggs), I intend to scoop them out to grow up in my tub ponds. After a few weeks, I'll dump the rest of the gunk. I have a few dozen pots that need repotting but doubt I will even make a dent. A few pots show no life but I'll give them a little longer to come back.

9. On 4/27/05, I repotted four 2 gallon pots consisting of the regular cattails (formerly in a 3 gallon pot of which I had no more and had to cut that one off with the utility knife), one of the dwarf cattails, the water plantain, and the golden club. While repotting, my order from Paradise Water Gardens arrived. I potted up a black gamecock iris and a water wisteria (in bloom) into two 2 gallon pots into the 1800 gallon pond. In my 50 gallon lotus tub pond, I planted my new lotus, a Mrs. Perry D. Slocum which was the first lotus I ordered (and got a different one instead) in 1997. I also put my two free water poppies in there. As if that weren't enough, Sheila gifted me with three tiny blue tropical water lilies. She bought the lily as Leopardess but doesn't think that's what it is. I put two pieces in a 2 gallon pot in my 1800 gallon pond, and the other sits in the 50 gallon lotus tub pond. I tossed out one 2 gallon pot in the 1800 gallon pond. I can't really remember what was in there except that I liked it a lot! I counted and have 15 plants that still need repotting in my 1800 gallon pond - 2 hardy canna, 1 dwarf cattail, 3 sweetflag, 2 lizard tail, 1 zebra/common rush (mix), 1 cotton grass, 1 bog bean, 2 pickerel rush, and 2 lotus! Yikes!

10. The morning of 4/29/05, my iris pot in the 20 gallon tub pond was flipped up again, everything muddy, and the few surviving wood frog tadpoles gagging on dirt. Then, in the 50 gallon pond, pieces of my new lotus were in the water but no sign of the tuber. The water poppies were torn out too. I searched (did they eat it, I asked myself) and finally found the tuber about 10 feet away. Thank you raccoons; I give up. I will never buy another lotus. If not the deer, then the raccoons.

11. On 5/1/05, I squirted off the flosses and the bioballs. The 1800 gallon pond was up to 63 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 62 degrees F. I planted a few new hornwort and cabomba plants in one of my 2 gallon pots with the submerged plant cages on it which required me to cut the nylon cord to get it open (but not all the way). Then, I had to get out what was in there which should have been a pot full to the top with gravel and submerged plants but the fish (through the protective cage mind you) had reduced it to a cup or so of dirt and gravel. I filled the pot with plant "soil" that I bought (and rarely use), put in the plants, topped with pea gravel, sewed the cage shut with fishing line, and put it back in the bottom of the pond. With more fishing line, I tied my floating plant island to it which I again potted up with 6 impatiens plants. I used the same planting method with nylon aquarium bags in the bottom of those pots since they have huge holes in them. Last year, the floating island was a disaster since the herons and later the fish flipped it up and spilled everything multiple times.

12. There was a big green frog tadpole in one of the containers of slop where a few goldfish fry have hatched. I tried to catch it a few days ago. The raccoon instead got it, took a small bite, and left the remains on the porch the morning of 5/3/05. Saddening indeed.

13. On 5/5/05, I used dixie cups to get 14 goldfish fry from the plastic litter buckets and put them in my 50 gallon lotus tub pond. They will do well there until they're large enough that the raccoons can see them.

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Pond Tidbits:
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1. Due to various crises, I am unable to add anything here this month.

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Web Sites of Interest:
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1. Exploding German toads -
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/germanytoadsoffbeat

What's your favorite pond-related web site(s)?
Do you have a web site you want me to mention here?


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